New Red Wings arena — a timeline 

How Ilitchville came to be.

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY KRISTIN BORDEN.
  • Illustration by Kristin Borden.

1967 — Mike and Marian Ilitch's beginnings in Detroit started when they opened their first Little Caesar's restaurant inside the city in 1967. 

Early 1979 — Red Wings owner Bruce Norris signs deal with Detroit to move team from Olympia Stadium to Joe Louis Arena. Norris had threatened to leave the city for a proposed arena in Pontiac, but Detroit Mayor Coleman Young enticed Norris downtown. Young had already begun constructing the Joe before the deal had been reached, financing the entire cost of the $30.3 million facility with municipal bonds.

Dec. 27, 1979 — Detroit Red Wings play their first game at Joe Louis Arena against the St. Louis Blues.

June 3, 1982 — Little Caesars founder Mike Ilitch purchases the Detroit Red Wings from Norris for an estimated $8 million, inheriting Joe Louis Arena in the process. 

July 1987 — Mike Ilitch and his wife, Marian, purchase downtown’s Fox Theatre; the couple proposes and implements a $12 million plan to restore the 5,000-seat facility, which reopens the following year.

1989 — Ilitch relocates Little Caesars Inc. from the suburbs to downtown Detroit. 

December 1991 — State bill passes allowing creation of an authority to push a financing package for a new baseball stadium in Detroit for the Tigers.

Feb. 20, 1992 — First reports surface in The Detroit News that Ilitch is interested in building a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings. 

Feb. 22, 1992 — Detroit Free Press poll finds 68 percent of respondents would be opposed to raising taxes to finance a new baseball stadium. 

July 1992 — Ilitch purchases the Detroit Tigers from rival pizza mogul, Domino’s founder Tom Monaghan, reportedly for $85 million. 

September 1992 — Reports surface that Ilitch plans to conduct a study on whether to renovate Tiger Stadium or pursue the option of constructing a new one. Wayne County shares plans with Ilitch it previously devised for a new $200 million stadium with the team’s former owner, partly backed by state and county tax revenues and taxable debt, and partly backed by team revenues, according to The Bond Buyer. The package then would include a 1 percent restaurant tax, 1 percent hotel tax, as well as a 2 percent car rental tax. 

Fall 1993 — Detroit civic leaders meet with state administration over legislation that would allow a new baseball stadium to be built.

February 1994 — Ilitch, along with former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, tour “old-style” baseball stadiums, as Ilitch expressed interest in constructing a new stadium for the Tigers.

Summer-Fall 1994 — State lawmakers push bills to finance new baseball stadium.

September 1994 — Reports surface of plan for Wayne County and Detroit to finance entire cost of new baseball stadium, then lease it to Ilitch.

Summer 1995 — Talks restart between Tigers and Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford for a joint stadium proposal in downtown. Ilitch’s previous plan to use casino revenue to finance a new home for the Tigers is quashed after then-Gov. John Engler nixes the idea of expanding gambling in Detroit, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. The new plan shifts the site of the new ballpark to Comerica Park’s current location.

October 1995 — A deal is announced between the city of Detroit and Ilitch to build a new $235 million, 42,000-seat ballpark for the Tigers. The plan would be financed through $55 million in gaming revenues and $40 million in tax increment financing bonds, collected from the Detroit Downtown Development Authority. 

November 1995 — The Tiger Stadium Fan Club, a group created to promote the idea of preserving Tiger Stadium, files a lawsuit challenging the legality of the state’s financial commitment for the project. The club had also taken issue with Detroit City Council’s decision to revoke a referendum passed by city voters in 1992 to prevent city tax dollars from being used to finance a new ballpark. The club launches a petition drive to challenge the city’s funding for the stadium.

December 1995 — Detroit City Council approves $40 million in funds for a new stadium for the Tigers. 

January 1996 — The Tiger Stadium Fan Club collects enough signatures to place a referendum before city voters in March. It would ask voters to repeal a city ordinance that allowed the use of public funds for a new stadium.

March 1996 — Voters shoot down the referendum, and a circuit court judge upholds the governor’s decision to appropriate casino revenues for a new stadium. The club appeals the decision, delaying the proposed opening for new ballpark in 1998. 

August 1996 — The Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority is created, pursuant to state law. The authority’s stated purpose is to construct and maintain stadia. 

Oct. 10, 1996 — The Ilitch family announces a $6 million entertainment district to open alongside the new baseball stadium. The plan never comes to fruition. 

November 1996 — Wayne County voters approve a plan to secure $85 million in public financing for the new baseball stadium, paid through a 2 percent rental car tax and a 1 percent hotel room tax. An estimated $80 million in 30-year tax-exempt bonds is issued to finance the stadium construction, secured through those revenue streams. Plans call for the Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority to own the stadium and lease it to the Tigers owner. 

April 1997 — Metro Times cover story finds Ilitch has a binding $145 million loan package with a consortium of banks to handle the private end of financing, but no finalized deal, as of yet. 

October 29, 1997 — A groundbreaking ceremony is held for the new stadium, soon to be dubbed Comerica Park, after the bank purchases naming rights.

August 1998 — After months of reports on no finalized deal for Ilitch’s private financing for the new ballpark, the team announces one has been cemented. 

December 1999 — MotorCity Casino, which Marian Ilitch has a 25 percent stake in, opens. 

September 1999 — The Free Press reports that, since early 1997, Ilitch has been buying up land west of Woodward near the Fox. Observers suggest it points to plans for a new home for the Detroit Red Wings.

April 2000 — Nearly eight years after Ilitch first suggests he’d be interested in a new stadium for the Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park hosts its first ballgame.

August 2000 — The Wayne County Circuit Court orders the Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority to return land to original owners after it was purchased for the new ballpark and Lions stadium. The authority had told the landowner it would condemn the property if it wasn’t sold, an action that was deemed legally questionable. It is later determined by the circuit court that the Ilitches funded the purchase of the land through the authority. 

Oct. 31, 2000 — Ilitch’s company announces plans to build a $15 million entertainment district near the Fox Theatre, according to The Detroit News. Plans called for the district to be named Columbia Street and offer various restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues. None of it comes to fruition. 

April 2002 — Cobo Hall’s director tells Detroit City Council that an option exists to raze Joe Louis Arena. Ilitch’s daughter Denise tells the Free Press the team won’t abandon the arena. “We have a home for the Red Wings and it’s Joe Louis Arena,” she tells the daily newspaper. 

April 2005 — Marian Ilitch bids to buy out partners at MotorCity Casino and becomes sole owner. The casino and hotel undergo an expansion soon after. 

June 2008 — Demolition of Tiger Stadium begins.

June 2009 — The Ilitches announce plans to renegotiate a shorter lease for Joe Louis, as they forgo an option to automatically renew the previous lease. This fuels speculation that a new hockey arena could be in the offing for Ilitch’s Detroit Red Wings.

September 2009 — The last piece of Tiger Stadium is demolished.

February 2010 — The Ilitches hire Tom Wilson, formerly of the Detroit Pistons organization. Crain’s speculates the hiring points to a new initiative to secure financing and construction of a new hockey arena.

August 2010 — Ilitch announces interest in purchasing the Detroit Pistons, with the likely intent of moving the team back to Detroit from Auburn Hills. He later loses out the bid to Tom Gores. 

2011 — Talks continue over an updated Joe Louis Arena lease between Ilitch’s company and the city of Detroit.

Early 2012 — “Conceptual” discussions commence between the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) and state Rep. John Walsh (R-Livonia) regarding a possible new Detroit Red Wings arena with additional spinoff development in downtown Detroit; at the same time, the Detroit Downtown Development Authority, a quasi-public entity staffed by the DEGC, launches a petitioning effort to amend Michigan's Downtown Development Authority Act to clarify that any DDA-owned property was exempt from property taxes, according to court filings at the Michigan Tax Tribunal. 

March 2012 — Rep. Walsh sponsors state legislation (HB 5463 of 2012) that would exempt downtown development authorities across the state from having to pay property taxes on facilities they own. According to court filings, the city of Detroit and the city’s DDA petitioned Walsh to sponsor the bill, in essence, to settle ongoing disputes at the Michigan Tax Tribunal dating back to 2010. The DDA appealed 13 parcels that had been assessed a property tax because, according to state records, the city’s assessor said it would continue to charge the DDA property taxes unless it was codified under state law that DDAs don’t pay such taxes on its own properties.

May 21, 2012 — Citing three unnamed sources, Sports Business Journal reports that Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch has selected an architect to build a new arena for the hockey team. The team’s spokesperson only comments to the business paper that “our organization has been on the record saying we’d like to have a new arena in downtown Detroit.”

May 24, 2012 — HB 5463 passes the state House in a 102-2 vote. 

Oct. 30, 2012 — In court filings at the Michigan Tax Tribunal, the city of Detroit and DDA state that they don’t believe the state Senate will pass HB 5463 by the year’s end due to “political concerns.”

Nov. 7, 2012 — The city of Detroit learns that a hearing on HB 5463 has finally been set by the state Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, according to court filings. This date also marks the first day of the 2012 lame duck session in the state legislature. According to court filings, the city and DDA tell the tax tribunal court they believe the bill will be approved by the committee on Nov. 29, and passed by the Senate in December. The legislation, the parties note, would render the tax tribunal disputes moot.

Dec. 4, 2012 — Ilitch announces a proposed $650 million new arena and spinoff development in downtown Detroit. A spokeswoman tells media outlets it is the first step “to explore the viability” of such a new district. That same day, the state Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee takes up HB 5463. Before voting on the legislation, state Rep. Walsh offers a brief summary of the bill, according to minutes from the meeting. State Sen. Randy Richardville, chairman of the committee, introduces an amendment to the bill to add language that would provide the public funding mechanism for a proposed so-called “catalyst development project” in downtown Detroit, including the new Red Wings arena. Representatives from Ilitch Holdings Inc., the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and Olympia Entertainment deliver testimony in support of the bill. The bill is unanimously approved by the committee and is sent to the full state Senate for consideration.

Dec. 5, 2012 — The state Senate approves a revamped HB 5463 with the “catalyst development project” language by a 27-11 vote. The day is marked by protests out on the state Capitol’s front lawn, as Republican lawmakers usher through right-to-work legislation. 

Dec. 13, 2012 — The state House, after nearly an hour-long debate among lawmakers, approves HB 5463 in a 58-49 vote. Similarly, in the Senate, support of and opposition to the bill are bipartisan. Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, signs the bill later in the month.

February 2013 — The Free Press reports on a community group meeting with the Ilitch organization to push for a firm community benefits agreement, a formal contract typically negotiated with developers of big-ticket projects who must then provide specific benefits to residents or stakeholders affected by it. 

June 2013 — Nearly seven months after the state bill is passed, initial plans in a memorandum of understanding are released regarding the so-called catalyst development project at a Downtown Detroit Development Authority meeting. Besides the arena, officials say Olympia, Ilitches’ development arm, would cause $200 million to be invested in spinoff development adjacent to the arena. A Metro Times report would later find the terms of the agreement leave Olympia free of liability if it were to default on the spinoff development terms. Plans for the $450 million arena call for public funding to support 58Early 1979 — Red Wings owner Bruce Norris signs deal with Detroit to move team from Olympia Stadium to Joe Louis Arena. Norris had threatened to leave the city for a proposed arena in Pontiac, but Detroit Mayor Coleman Young enticed Norris downtown. Young had already begun constructing the Joe before the deal had been reached, financing the entire cost of the $30.3 million facility with municipal bonds.

Dec. 27, 1979 — Detroit Red Wings play their first game at Joe Louis Arena against the St. Louis Blues.

June 3, 1982 — Little Caesars founder Mike Ilitch purchases the Detroit Red Wings from Norris for an estimated $8 million, inheriting Joe Louis Arena in the process. 

July 1987 — Mike Ilitch and his wife, Marian, purchase downtown’s Fox Theatre; the couple proposes and implements a $12 million plan to restore the 5,000-seat facility, which reopens the following year.

1989 — Ilitch relocates Little Caesars Inc. from the suburbs to downtown Detroit. 

December 1991 — State bill passes allowing creation of an authority to push a financing package for a new baseball stadium in Detroit for the Tigers.

Feb. 20, 1992 — First reports surface in The Detroit News that Ilitch is interested in building a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings. 

Feb. 22, 1992 — Detroit Free Press poll finds 68 percent of respondents would be opposed to raising taxes to finance a new baseball stadium. 

July 1992 — Ilitch purchases the Detroit Tigers from rival pizza mogul, Domino’s founder Tom Monaghan, reportedly for $85 million. 

September 1992 — Reports surface that Ilitch plans to conduct a study on whether to renovate Tiger Stadium or pursue the option of constructing a new one. Wayne County shares plans with Ilitch it previously devised for a new $200 million stadium with the team’s former owner, partly backed by state and county tax revenues and taxable debt, and partly backed by team revenues, according to The Bond Buyer. The package then would include a 1 percent restaurant tax, 1 percent hotel tax, as well as a 2 percent car rental tax. 

Fall 1993 — Detroit civic leaders meet with state administration over legislation that would allow a new baseball stadium to be built.

February 1994 — Ilitch, along with former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, tour “old-style” baseball stadiums, as Ilitch expressed interest in constructing a new stadium for the Tigers.

Summer-Fall 1994 — State lawmakers push bills to finance new baseball stadium.

September 1994 — Reports surface of plan for Wayne County and Detroit to finance entire cost of new baseball stadium, then lease it to Ilitch.

Summer 1995 — Talks restart between Tigers and Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford for a joint stadium proposal in downtown. Ilitch’s previous plan to use casino revenue to finance a new home for the Tigers is quashed after then-Gov. John Engler nixes the idea of expanding gambling in Detroit, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. The new plan shifts the site of the new ballpark to Comerica Park’s current location.

October 1995 — A deal is announced between the city of Detroit and Ilitch to build a new $235 million, 42,000-seat ballpark for the Tigers. The plan would be financed through $55 million in gaming revenues and $40 million in tax increment financing bonds, collected from the Detroit Downtown Development Authority. 

November 1995 — The Tiger Stadium Fan Club, a group created to promote the idea of preserving Tiger Stadium, files a lawsuit challenging the legality of the state’s financial commitment for the project. The club had also taken issue with Detroit City Council’s decision to revoke a referendum passed by city voters in 1992 to prevent city tax dollars from being used to finance a new ballpark. The club launches a petition drive to challenge the city’s funding for the stadium.

December 1995 — Detroit City Council approves $40 million in funds for a new stadium for the Tigers. 

January 1996 — The Tiger Stadium Fan Club collects enough signatures to place a referendum before city voters in March. It would ask voters to repeal a city ordinance that allowed the use of public funds for a new stadium.

March 1996 — Voters shoot down the referendum, and a circuit court judge upholds the governor’s decision to appropriate casino revenues for a new stadium. The club appeals the decision, delaying the proposed opening for new ballpark in 1998. 

August 1996 — The Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority is created, pursuant to state law. The authority’s stated purpose is to construct and maintain stadia. 

Oct. 10, 1996 — The Ilitch family announces a $6 million entertainment district to open alongside the new baseball stadium. The plan never comes to fruition. 

November 1996 — Wayne County voters approve a plan to secure $85 million in public financing for the new baseball stadium, paid through a 2 percent rental car tax and a 1 percent hotel room tax. An estimated $80 million in 30-year tax-exempt bonds is issued to finance the stadium construction, secured through those revenue streams. Plans call for the Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority to own the stadium and lease it to the Tigers owner. 

April 1997 — Metro Times cover story finds Ilitch has a binding $145 million loan package with a consortium of banks to handle the private end of financing, but no finalized deal, as of yet. 

October 29, 1997 — A groundbreaking ceremony is held for the new stadium, soon to be dubbed Comerica Park, after the bank purchases naming rights.

August 1998 — After months of reports on no finalized deal for Ilitch’s private financing for the new ballpark, the team announces one has been cemented. 

December 1999 — MotorCity Casino, which Marian Ilitch has a 25 percent stake in, opens. 

September 1999 — The Free Press reports that, since early 1997, Ilitch has been buying up land west of Woodward near the Fox. Observers suggest it points to plans for a new home for the Detroit Red Wings.

April 2000 — Nearly eight years after Ilitch first suggests he’d be interested in a new stadium for the Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park hosts its first ballgame.

August 2000 — The Wayne County Circuit Court orders the Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority to return land to original owners after it was purchased for the new ballpark and Lions stadium. The authority had told the landowner it would condemn the property if it wasn’t sold, an action that was deemed legally questionable. It is later determined by the circuit court that the Ilitches funded the purchase of the land through the authority. 

Oct. 31, 2000 — Ilitch’s company announces plans to build a $15 million entertainment district near the Fox Theatre, according to The Detroit News. Plans called for the district to be named Columbia Street and offer various restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues. None of it comes to fruition. 

April 2002 — Cobo Hall’s director tells Detroit City Council that an option exists to raze Joe Louis Arena. Ilitch’s daughter Denise tells the Free Press the team won’t abandon the arena. “We have a home for the Red Wings and it’s Joe Louis Arena,” she tells the daily newspaper. 

April 2005 — Marian Ilitch bids to buy out partners at MotorCity Casino and becomes sole owner. The casino and hotel undergo an expansion soon after. 

June 2008 — Demolition of Tiger Stadium begins.

June 2009 — The Ilitches announce plans to renegotiate a shorter lease for Joe Louis, as they forgo an option to automatically renew the previous lease. This fuels speculation that a new hockey arena could be in the offing for Ilitch’s Detroit Red Wings.

September 2009 — The last piece of Tiger Stadium is demolished.

February 2010 — The Ilitches hire Tom Wilson, formerly of the Detroit Pistons organization. Crain’s speculates the hiring points to a new initiative to secure financing and construction of a new hockey arena.

August 2010 — Ilitch announces interest in purchasing the Detroit Pistons, with the likely intent of moving the team back to Detroit from Auburn Hills. He later loses out the bid to Tom Gores. 

2011 — Talks continue over an updated Joe Louis Arena lease between Ilitch’s company and the city of Detroit.

Early 2012 — “Conceptual” discussions commence between the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) and state Rep. John Walsh (R-Livonia) regarding a possible new Detroit Red Wings arena with additional spinoff development in downtown Detroit; at the same time, the Detroit Downtown Development Authority, a quasi-public entity staffed by the DEGC, launches a petitioning effort to amend Michigan's Downtown Development Authority Act to clarify that any DDA-owned property was exempt from property taxes, according to court filings at the Michigan Tax Tribunal. 

March 2012 — Rep. Walsh sponsors state legislation (HB 5463 of 2012) that would exempt downtown development authorities across the state from having to pay property taxes on facilities they own. According to court filings, the city of Detroit and the city’s DDA petitioned Walsh to sponsor the bill, in essence, to settle ongoing disputes at the Michigan Tax Tribunal dating back to 2010. The DDA appealed 13 parcels that had been assessed a property tax because, according to state records, the city’s assessor said it would continue to charge the DDA property taxes unless it was codified under state law that DDAs don’t pay such taxes on its own properties.

May 21, 2012 — Citing three unnamed sources, Sports Business Journal reports that Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch has selected an architect to build a new arena for the hockey team. The team’s spokesperson only comments to the business paper that “our organization has been on the record saying we’d like to have a new arena in downtown Detroit.”

May 24, 2012 — HB 5463 passes the state House in a 102-2 vote. 

Oct. 30, 2012 — In court filings at the Michigan Tax Tribunal, the city of Detroit and DDA state that they don’t believe the state Senate will pass HB 5463 by the year’s end due to “political concerns.”

Nov. 7, 2012 — The city of Detroit learns that a hearing on HB 5463 has finally been set by the state Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, according to court filings. This date also marks the first day of the 2012 lame duck session in the state legislature. According to court filings, the city and DDA tell the tax tribunal court they believe the bill will be approved by the committee on Nov. 29, and passed by the Senate in December. The legislation, the parties note, would render the tax tribunal disputes moot.

Dec. 4, 2012 — Ilitch announces a proposed $650 million new arena and spinoff development in downtown Detroit. A spokeswoman tells media outlets it is the first step “to explore the viability” of such a new district. That same day, the state Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee takes up HB 5463. Before voting on the legislation, state Rep. Walsh offers a brief summary of the bill, according to minutes from the meeting. State Sen. Randy Richardville, chairman of the committee, introduces an amendment to the bill to add language that would provide the public funding mechanism for a proposed so-called “catalyst development project” in downtown Detroit, including the new Red Wings arena. Representatives from Ilitch Holdings Inc., the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and Olympia Entertainment deliver testimony in support of the bill. The bill is unanimously approved by the committee and is sent to the full state Senate for consideration.

Dec. 5, 2012 — The state Senate approves a revamped HB 5463 with the “catalyst development project” language by a 27-11 vote. The day is marked by protests out on the state Capitol’s front lawn, as Republican lawmakers usher through right-to-work legislation. 

Dec. 13, 2012 — The state House, after nearly an hour-long debate among lawmakers, approves HB 5463 in a 58-49 vote. Similarly, in the Senate, support of and opposition to the bill are bipartisan. Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, signs the bill later in the month.

February 2013 — The Free Press reports on a community group meeting with the Ilitch organization to push for a firm community benefits agreement, a formal contract typically negotiated with developers of big-ticket projects who must then provide specific benefits to residents or stakeholders affected by it. 

June 2013 — Nearly seven months after the state bill is passed, initial plans in a memorandum of understanding are released regarding the so-called catalyst development project at a Downtown Detroit Development Authority meeting. Besides the arena, officials say Olympia, Ilitches’ development arm, would cause $200 million to be invested in spinoff development adjacent to the arena. A Metro Times report would later find the terms of the agreement leave Olympia free of liability if it were to default on the spinoff development terms. Plans for the $450 million arena call for public funding to support 58 percent of costs, roughly $261.5 million. The Michigan Strategic Fund, a state economic agency, would issue $450 million in 30-year tax-exempt bonds that would be secured by three sources of revenue: The DDA would use roughly $13 million it captures annually from its district to pay down the bonds, plus an additional $2 million annually from a separate stream. And Olympia would contribute the remaining $188 million through revenue generated at the arena. The city would receive no revenue under the deal. Olympia notes the new arena would create 400 additional jobs on top of the number already employed at the Joe, which DDA officials later say would generate additional income taxes for the city. 

December 2013 — Detroit City Council approves the memorandum of understanding to have the DDA own the new Red Wings arena and lease it to Olympia. It also votes to expand DDA boundaries to encompass proposed district for the new Red Wings arena and spinoff district, allowing for the public funding mechanism approved by the state to be utilized. The decision creates a vast swath of land, roughly 35 acres, that’s anchored by Ilitch’s Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, the new Red Wings arena, as well as the Marian Ilitch-owned MotorCity Casino. The council tables a controversial land-transfer needed to keep the deal moving forward until new councilmembers are seated the following month.

January 2014 — City officials announce that, instead of a firm community benefits agreement, Olympia has agreed to setting up a Neighborhood Advisory Committee. The committee would have no veto power, but could offer resolutions to support the impacted area by offering advice to Olympia. 

Feb. 4, 2014 — After a vigorous public hearing, Detroit City Council approves the transfer of 39 parcels to the city’s DDA for $1 in a narrow vote. The city previously assessed the land at $2.9 million. 

March 2014 — The Michigan Strategic Fund votes unanimously to issue $6 million in bonds to demolish Joe Louis Arena. 

March 31, 2014 — City Council considers a new lease for Joe Louis Arena. Under the retroactive deal, dating back to 2010 when the previous lease lapsed, the city would receive $17 million in consideration from Olympia, but could not use the arena for any ticketed events after the Red Wings move to their new home. A report from the city’s Legislative Policy Division finds that the city would’ve received an additional $3 million had the terms of the old deal been maintained. 

April 10, 2014 — The Detroit Downtown Development Authority approves the general contract for the new Red Wings arena. 

Summer/Fall 2014 — Construction on the new arena is expected to begin, if officials anticipate a 24-month time `frame is needed in order to be completed for 2016-2017 National Hockey League season. 

Estimated fall 2016 — Nearly a quarter-century after Ilitch first expressed interest in a new home for the Detroit Red Wings, the team’s new arena is expected to host its first game. 

December 2013 — Detroit City Council approves the memorandum of understanding to have the DDA own the new Red Wings arena and lease it to Olympia. It also votes to expand DDA boundaries to encompass proposed district for the new Red Wings arena and spinoff district, allowing for the public funding mechanism approved by the state to be utilized. The decision creates a vast swath of land, roughly 35 acres, that’s anchored by Ilitch’s Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, the new Red Wings arena, as well as the Marian Ilitch-owned MotorCity Casino. The council tables a controversial land-transfer needed to keep the deal moving forward until new councilmembers are seated the following month.

January 2014 — City officials announce that, instead of a firm community benefits agreement, Olympia has agreed to setting up a Neighborhood Advisory Committee. The committee would have no veto power, but could offer resolutions to support the impacted area by offering advice to Olympia. 

Feb. 4, 2014 — After a vigorous public hearing, Detroit City Council approves the transfer of 39 parcels to the city’s DDA for $1 in a narrow vote. The city previously assessed the land at $2.9 million. 

March 2014 — The Michigan Strategic Fund votes unanimously to issue $6 million in bonds to demolish Joe Louis Arena. 

March 31, 2014 — City Council considers a new lease for Joe Louis Arena. Under the retroactive deal, dating back to 2010 when the previous lease lapsed, the city would receive $17 million in consideration from Olympia, but could not use the arena for any ticketed events after the Red Wings move to their new home. A report from the city’s Legislative Policy Division finds that the city would’ve received an additional $3 million had the terms of the old deal been maintained. 

April 10, 2014 — The Detroit Downtown Development Authority approves the general contract for the new Red Wings arena. 

Summer/Fall 2014 — Construction on the new arena is expected to begin, if officials anticipate a 24-month time `frame is needed in order to be completed for 2016-2017 National Hockey League season. 

Estimated fall 2016 — Nearly a quarter-century after Ilitch first expressed interest in a new home for the Detroit Red Wings, the team’s new arena is expected to host its first game. 

(Sources: Crain’s Detroit BusinessThe Bond BuyerMetro Times research) 

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